Aides to U.S. President Barack Obama say he will deliver a much stronger performance when he meets Republican challenger Mitt Romney Tuesday night in their second debate.

Obama was heavily criticized after his first debate on October 3 for appearing listless and ill-prepared against Romney, who who was far more engaged and aggressive.  The president’s poor showing led to a surge of support in voter opinion polls for his Republican rival, leaving both candidates locked in a virtual tie.

Tuesday’s debate at New York’s Hofstra University will utilize a so-called “town hall” format, where an audience of pre-selected undecided voters will pose questions to Obama and Romney.  

The president spent several days last week preparing for the event at a resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, and aides say he will be more aggressive in challenging Romney’s positions.

Romney’s campaign announced Monday that it had raised $170 million in September.  The Obama campaign announced last week that it had raised $181 million last month.

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